Ask Jonathots …December 10th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I am the mother of a fourteen-year-old boy who is playing football on his junior high school team. I am concerned about him continuing because of the new information about concussions. He’s playing wide receiver and he’s very fast and talented, and my husband totally disagrees and thinks I’m just worrying about nothing. I don’t. What do you think?

  • Worry is useless.
  • Worry must take a journey.
  • Worry must become concern, which pursues knowledge and ends up with action.

Your husband, lacking worry, probably feels he is doing a good thing by being open-minded and willing, but it is only a good thing if it’s based on truth, and not merely wishing.

Here are the things you need to know about a young man playing football:

1. The position is everything.

If he is undersized for his position, playing against boys who are larger, stronger and hit harder, then it is not good. If he’s playing against boys his own size, then he has a much better chance of escaping injury.

2. Training.

To play football, you must condition your body to accept punishment for a given time. It also demands that you be smart. At fourteen years of age, he needs to understand that as a receiver, if he’s running across the middle of the field and the pass thrown to him is way over his head, there is no need to leap in the air, leaving himself vulnerable to a hit. Some coaches would disagree with me on this, but most receivers are injured because their quarterbacks threw them a bad pass, which they tried to heroically catch.

3. Don’t give in to pressure.

In other words, if your son experiences a hit that leaves him bleary or with a headache, he should get himself off the field and not try to be macho.

4. Realize that the better you play the game–the harder you hit–the less likely it is that you will be hurt.

5. Check out the equipment.

What is the quality of his helmet? Does it fit correctly? All of these things are important in protecting the brain.

6. Find out what your coach and your local league feel about the concussion issue.

Are they calling penalties for targeting? Are they making fun of the notion of concussions, or are they taking it seriously?

7. Check with your doctor.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have your son checked before he plays football, to make sure that he’s sound and ready, with an exam that’s a bit more comprehensive than the normal athletic physical.

Football is a wonderful sport because it teaches teamwork. It also imparts the value of personal effort.

But make sure your worry becomes concern and pursues knowledge, for the more you know about it, the better off you will be.

Don’t teach your son to be afraid.

Frightened people get hurt.

Teach him to be smart and respectful of others who share the field with him.

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UNTOTALED: Stepping 7–Tackling Laziness (September 4th, 1965) … March 22, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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(Transcript)

Starting the seventh grade scared the crap out of me.

Actually, that particular cliché doesn’t fit very well because when you’re entering junior high school in a new building, the idea of any sound or bodily fluid coming out of your being is completely terrifying.

You want to simultaneously be invisible and also appreciated, which of course, is not only socially impossible, but scientifically implausible.

I had spent the week before school began begging my mother to allow me to go out for the football team. She was afraid I would get injured. This was a maternal prophetic sensation, long before the recent onslaught of concussions and head injuries. What was comical, though, about this assertion on her part was that I was nearly six feet tall and weighed three hundred pounds. The coach joked with her, when trying to solicit her support, that it would be more likely that I would hurt other children.

I whined, cajoled, pleaded, promised, praised, complimented and cleaned my room up enough to get her to agree to allow me to try out for the team.

So September 4th, 1965, was not just the first day of horror in the new junior high school. It was also my first day to go out after school and practice with the football team.

The trials continued when they were unable to find a pair of football pants to fit me.  (This was the era when men’s sizes stopped at extra-large, and anyone who needed anything bigger must order it from the sheep herders of Tibet.) So I wore a pair of tennis shoes and blue Dickey work pants to work out with the other guys, who were in suitable apparel. (They did find a helmet that fit my head, since the term fat-head is merely an urban legend.)

It became obvious to me immediately, on that small practice field, what I liked and what I didn’t.

  • I loved the game.
  • I loved tackling.
  • I loved thinking about what was going to happen next.

On the other hand, I hated exercise in all of its contorted, convoluted and fastidiously constructed forms. After all, every exercise program is really geared to skinny people–even the ones which insist they are trying to appeal to the obese. Their speculations always exceed our limitations.

I hated sprints, calisthenics, too much running of any type, and all the drills which they insisted were essential for becoming a great football player.

I endured the sport for three years, but finally my laziness regarding exercise overtook my love of the gridiron.

Maybe if I’d had the right kick in the pants from an authority figure, or perhaps mercy at the right moments and toughness at others, I might have continued playing the game. I don’t know.

But because I didn’t tackle laziness on the football field, it took me too many years to overcome that gooey, drippy vice that drags one down, draining off potential.

So the next time you run across a kid who has ability, but not much drive, please don’t assume that you should leave him alone.

I was left alone. And fascinatingly enough–it was just lonely.

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Starting Position… November 10, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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leechesNo young woman interns in a hospital, training to be a doctor, struggling with leeches, a mustard poultice and liquid opium to make sure that she fully comprehends the history and journey of the medical field.leather helmet

Likewise, no young rookie in the National Football League is given a leather helmet and sawdust to stuff in his pants to protect him from the numerous collisions on the field.

Wouldn’t it be silly to give a young man completing basic training a revolutionary war musket as he heads off to battle, to honor and salute the forefathers who founded this country?

flyingAnd I don’t think a person who is training to be a pilot needs to attach wings to his arms and jump off a cliff, trying to fly, just to have an appreciation for the trial and error that transpired in the pursuit of aviation.

So let me be blunt–I am not a follower of Moses. More power to Jonah, Job, David, Goliath and all the other characters in the stories, but they are experiments on a quest to find the real heart and spirit of God.

I am not a Muslim. I don’t need to know all the dictates of Sharia Law, which to me are superseded by the liberty given by our heavenly Father to all humanity.

I signed up to be a Christian because I believed in Jesus and found the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” to be the only logical axiom to energize our planet to maintain human life. I want to take the Golden Rule and dig for MORE gold.

Christianity suffers under a foolish need to teach history rather than encourage research. When we finally tire of defending a book that is evolutionary in its message, and is fulfilled in the life of Jesus, we will actually be able to offer something to mankind that meets the need instead of accentuating our differences.

“For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

I am working for that day.

I won’t settle for less.

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